18 Jan 2006

Solomons landowners tone down effect of claim

6:18 pm on 18 January 2006

A landowners group in Solomon Islands says the occupiers of a disputed area of land may not be affected by their claim.

The group says land in Lungga and Tenaru was transferred to the national government illegally in 1974 and they want the title back.

The Lungga -Tenaru Land Trust Board, which represents the landowners, says commercial activities on the land should be reserved for indigenous Guadalcanal and Solomon Islanders and have the consent of their chiefs.

The land under dispute houses the headquarters of the Regional Assistance Mission, the international airport and a top hotel.

However, the interim-chairman of the board, George Vari, says if title is returned to them they would seek a compromise with current stakeholders.

"What we had in mind is that we want to see the land transferred to us and our approach is to see the stakeholders who are there now, for us to discuss and we get a possible understanding between the parties concerned."